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Judges Uphold New Legislative Maps

The Democrats' state district maps, signed into law in June, have withstood a legal challenge by state Republicans, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The ballot for the March 20 primary election has taken shape. But even as the filing period for candidates ended Monday, an important question remained: what about the district maps?

On Wednesday, that question was answered. According to this Chicago Tribune article, an appeals panel of three federal judges rejected final arguments put forth by state Republicans against the new General Assembly maps, which Gov. Pat Quinn in June.

State law requires that lawmakers draw up new legislative district maps each time there is a federal census. The new maps were drafted by state Democrats, without the input of their Republican counterparts, since Democrats control both houses of the General Assembly and the governor’s office.

State Republicans the Illinois State Board of Elections in July, claiming the process of drawing the new maps disenfranchised minority voters and violated the state constitution. Republicans also said Democrats used their majority to draft politically favorable districts.

According to the Tribune, the panel of judges— U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo of the Northern District of Illinois; Diane Sykes, a judge on the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; and Philip Simon, chief judge of the Northern District of Indiana—rejected the arguments based on prior rulings in federal Voting Rights Act cases.

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